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Subject: My thematic explanation of different coloured meeples rss

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Vladimir Enko
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I haven't played the game ( yet ), so I don't know exactly if or how the presence of different coloured workers is explained in the rule book. But after seeing several reviewers struggling to find a corelation with the theme, I'll give my two cents.

The way I see it, the different-colored meeples are foreign experts from different countries ( kinda like in Keyflower ), which Japan did hire during their industrial period ( they were called "o-yatoi gaikokujin", or "hired foreigners" ). So when you use several colours, and you pay more money, accordingly, you do that because having lots of experts from different countries will increase your upkeep ( paying for their transport into Japan, accomodation, translators, etc. ).


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蓝魔
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RAHDO, within the first few minutes of his RUNTHROUGH, already gave his perfectly reasonable interpretation/explanation of what the different coloured workers represented without a hint of struggle.
 
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Vladimir Enko
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moocifer wrote:
RAHDO, within the first few minutes of his RUNTHROUGH, already gave his perfectly reasonable interpretation/explanation of what the different coloured workers represented without a hint of struggle.


Sorry, but his "it's maybe kind of a union sort of thing" just didn't do it for me.
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Chris
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moocifer wrote:
RAHDO, within the first few minutes of his RUNTHROUGH, already gave his perfectly reasonable interpretation/explanation of what the different coloured workers represented without a hint of struggle.


Which was....?

You make it sound like he's the designer, and not just some guy that's also played it.
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Steven Szymanski
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The key to understanding it thematically is in the terminology - you pay the money when you “consolidate”.

A lot of the growth of the Zaibatsu in these early years was by what modern people would term “merger and acquisition”, although with a distinct feudal flavor (if one company acquired another, they had certain responsibilities towards the acquired company). So if you wanted to get into selling paper in Yokohama, you’d buy a small, local paper company and build it up to become a major player.

The universal challenge of growth by M&A are the inherent inefficiencies - you end up with a bunch of redundant accounting departments, etc. and some missing parts as well. Sooner or later, you need to “consolidate” your holdings and integrate them into the parent company, eliminating the inefficiencies in the process and filling in any gaps.

Now the actual cost of this process depended a lot on the synergies between the companies you acquired. You might acquire one company with a great sales force, but that never grew because its distribution systems were weak. You might then acquire another company with a great distribution network but a weak sales force. Consolidate them together and both become stronger at minimal cost. On there other hand, consolidate four companies with great distribution networks and weak manufacturing and sales; and consolidation is going to be expensive, not just finding a face-saving way to redeploy all of the extra truck drivers; but also hiring (or training) more manufacturing and sales.

So the key is to find business opportunities that synergize with each other. That is what I think the colors represent in an abstract way.
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蓝魔
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TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
moocifer wrote:
RAHDO, within the first few minutes of his RUNTHROUGH, already gave his perfectly reasonable interpretation/explanation of what the different coloured workers represented without a hint of struggle.


Which was....?

You make it sound like he's the designer, and not just some guy that's also played it.


Written one post above yours. And no, I made it sound like a reviewer who had no problem coming up for a thematic reason behind the game's workforce pay structure - to counter the OP's point.
 
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Chris
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moocifer wrote:
TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
moocifer wrote:
RAHDO, within the first few minutes of his RUNTHROUGH, already gave his perfectly reasonable interpretation/explanation of what the different coloured workers represented without a hint of struggle.


Which was....?

You make it sound like he's the designer, and not just some guy that's also played it.


Written one post above yours. And no, I made it sound like a reviewer who had no problem coming up for a thematic reason behind the game's workforce pay structure - to counter the OP's point.

"A union thing"? That's an explanation?!?!

You didn't counter anything, as you gave no useful information to discuss or inform, you actually made RAHDO sound like OUR BELOVED LEADER WHO WE MUST OBEY or something. Odd.
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蓝魔
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TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
moocifer wrote:
TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
moocifer wrote:
RAHDO, within the first few minutes of his RUNTHROUGH, already gave his perfectly reasonable interpretation/explanation of what the different coloured workers represented without a hint of struggle.


Which was....?

You make it sound like he's the designer, and not just some guy that's also played it.


Written one post above yours. And no, I made it sound like a reviewer who had no problem coming up for a thematic reason behind the game's workforce pay structure - to counter the OP's point.

"A union thing"? That's an explanation?!?!

You didn't counter anything, as you gave no useful information to discuss or inform, you actually made RAHDO sound like OUR BELOVED LEADER WHO WE MUST OBEY or something. Odd.


The OP had no problem responding to me so it seems the only person being ODD is you, but go ahead enjoy yourself.
 
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Will Swannack
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sszy59 wrote:
The key to understanding it thematically is in the terminology - you pay the money when you “consolidate”.

A lot of the growth of the Zaibatsu in these early years was by what modern people would term “merger and acquisition”, although with a distinct feudal flavor (if one company acquired another, they had certain responsibilities towards the acquired company). So if you wanted to get into selling paper in Yokohama, you’d buy a small, local paper company and build it up to become a major player.

The universal challenge of growth by M&A are the inherent inefficiencies - you end up with a bunch of redundant accounting departments, etc. and some missing parts as well. Sooner or later, you need to “consolidate” your holdings and integrate them into the parent company, eliminating the inefficiencies in the process and filling in any gaps.

Now the actual cost of this process depended a lot on the synergies between the companies you acquired. You might acquire one company with a great sales force, but that never grew because its distribution systems were weak. You might then acquire another company with a great distribution network but a weak sales force. Consolidate them together and both become stronger at minimal cost. On there other hand, consolidate four companies with great distribution networks and weak manufacturing and sales; and consolidation is going to be expensive, not just finding a face-saving way to redeploy all of the extra truck drivers; but also hiring (or training) more manufacturing and sales.

So the key is to find business opportunities that synergize with each other. That is what I think the colors represent in an abstract way.


Thanks so much for writing this! Very helpful in conceptualizing the theme and challenges.

My personal grab on it is that the different color meeples represent different companies. Their locations represent what skills those companies provide. Taking the meeple represents buying a portion of the company. Consolidation costs go up when you increase the number of companies you're trying to consolidate.

Another read on it could be that each meeple represents a distinct company and its color relates to its location. Perhaps consolidating companies from distinct locations is harder / more expensive? This seems reasonable, but I don't know much about the period. For instance, it's better to get my coal in the same place I'm building my trains, which would be represented by performing those two actions with the same color meeples.
 
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